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DelBene meets with business leaders in Redmond to discuss immigration reform

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, right, visited Concur Technologies in Redmond this afternoon to discuss the need for high-skilled workers and the local economic benefits of comprehensive immigration reform.  Joining her at the roundtable meeting were Cindy Olsen from Concur and Sailesh Chutani of MobiSante. - Andy Nystrom / Reporter
Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, right, visited Concur Technologies in Redmond this afternoon to discuss the need for high-skilled workers and the local economic benefits of comprehensive immigration reform. Joining her at the roundtable meeting were Cindy Olsen from Concur and Sailesh Chutani of MobiSante.
— image credit: Andy Nystrom / Reporter

The world is changing on a regular basis, and policy needs to keep up with that, says Congresswoman Suzan DelBene.

The United States needs comprehensive immigration reform, “it will help us get on a better path,” she told a group of local high-tech business leaders during a roundtable discussion on Wednesday afternoon at Concur Technologies in Redmond.

“I think we need a system that works for everybody,” said the First Congressional District representative, noting that Congress needs to pinpoint what the costs are and make sure that people understand the reform. It’s not just for businesses searching for high-skilled workers, but for people who are looking at coming to the United States.

This week, DelBene spent time with local college students, business leaders in the life sciences and biotech worlds, farmers in Whatcom County and representatives from large companies and small start-ups in Redmond.

People have been absorbed in their conversations with her about immigration reform — which has been described as “an earned path to citizenship” — and she’s coming away from the experience on a positive level.

“I think everyone shares the desire to make sure that we have reform in place and that we have an immigration system that works across our country,” she said. “Everybody is definitely excited to see Congress moving on (it). I’m encouraged that we’re having a bipartisan conversation and hopeful that with people being engaged and with Congress making this a priority, we can make progress and get some legislation in place.”

At the Redmond roundtable, Sailesh Chutani, president and CEO of MobiSante, offered the suggestion that local college students with hi-tech-job aspirations and green cards be given the opportunity to work for a start-up business of their choice.

“That could really get them involved in the next generation of Microsoft,” he said.

Gordon Bluechel, vice president of operations and administration for Data I/O, said that his company employs workers from other countries and he likes diversity in the workplace.

Outside of the business realm, Bluechel added that it’s also “cool” that by living in Redmond, his children interact with schoolmates of different ethnicities.

 

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